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The Plum Line: May 23, 2010 - May 29, 2010

Saturday Roundup

* It remains unspeakably strange that in the alternate universe known as the U.S. Senate, one of the largest environmental calamities in history has made drilling more imperative to passing energy reform. * BP appears to have resumed its efforts...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 29, 2010; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House GOPers , Joe Sestak , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Not sure why this isn't getting more attention: BP's efforts to plug the damn hole stalled again at 2:30 A.M. this morning. And there's this: The suspension of the effort was not announced, and appeared to again contradict statements...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Happy Hour Roundup , House GOPers , Joe Sestak , Senate Republicans  
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Bush ethics chief to GOP: 'Move on' from Sestak story

Earlier this week, Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics officer under George W. Bush, argued that it didn't look like there all that was much to the Joe Sestak story. Even if there had been some kind of "job"...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Joe Sestak , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Joe Sestak's version of the White House job offer story

Joe Sestak's statement, just out, downplays the story about his White House job offer even more than the White House's version of events did: Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation,...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
Categories:  Joe Sestak  
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White House offered Joe Sestak unpaid advisory board position

I noted below that the White House asked Bill Clinton to meet with Joe Sestak to gauge whether he'd be open to alternatives other than running for Senate. Now I've got some detail on precisely what alternatives were discussed. According...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Joe Sestak , Senate Dems  
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EXCLUSIVE: White House asked Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about Senate run

Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he'd be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (415)
Categories:  2010 elections , Joe Sestak , Senate Dems  
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The Morning Plum

* It's Obama's spill now: With the president heading to the Gulf today, one emerging storyline is that even if he didn't get emotional enough at yesterday's presser -- he didn't kick over the podium or smash any TV cameras...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 28, 2010; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Cillizza smartly notes that Obama's challenge is to persuade the public that he's in charge of BP's crisis effort, even as BP is the one with the technological know-how to do it. * Interesting nugget: The White House is...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 6:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Obama showed he grasps depths of global challenge

Commentators, understandably, will be analyzing Obama's big Gulf spill presser today to determine whether he did what had to do politically. Did he sound angry enough? Did he convincingly rebut legit criticism of his handling of the crisis? Why did...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Climate change  
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Crist now supports DADT repeal compromise

Charlie Crist, who previously opposed repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell when he was a Republican but has since been under pressure to take a stand on current repeal efforts, will now support the repeal compromise, his spokesperson confirms to...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Obama does right thing, vows official response on Sestak

A quick post before getting into the main topic of the big press conference: Obama just said that an "official response" is forthcoming from the White House on the Joe Sestak mess. "There will be an official response shortly on...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  2010 elections , Joe Sestak , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Time to clean up Sestak mess, part II

With the battle over the Joe Sestak mess continuing to rage, Jon Chait and Steve Benen both have posts up pushing back hard on the growing chorus of criticism and on the notion that this is any kind of scandal....

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  2010 elections , Joe Sestak , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Maybe Palin doesn't mind being 'stalked' by McGinniss

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Sarah Palin is not genuinely all that upset about journalist Joe McGinniss moving in next door to "stalk" her. I'd say it's likely she sees a clear upside: It...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* The Sue Lowden campaign continued to lay eggs last night, with the candidate refusing to answer when Nevada journalist Jon Ralston pressed her to say whether she agrees with Rand Paul's criticism of the Civil Rights Act. When he...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 27, 2010; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Dems, too: Ed Rendell calls on the White House and Joe Sestak to clarify what happened so they can put this behind them. * At DailyKos, Barbara Morrill says it's time for Sestak to set this right. * Must-read...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 5:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Time for Sestak to clean up his mess

Senate Republicans are now calling for a special prosecutor to look into Joe Sestak's claim that the White House offered him a job in order to drop his primary challenge to Arlen Specter. On the merits, this seems silly: Good...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (117)
Categories:  2010 elections , Joe Sestak , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Another right-wing attack on Kagan is a bust

Looks like another attack on Elena Kagan making the rounds on the right may prove to be a bust. The latest: Conservative writers are upset because Kagan offered kind words of praise for a retired Israeli judge who is one...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Supreme Court  
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Breaking: Ben Nelson to vote Yes on DADT repeal

A big step forward for the push to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell: Senator Ben Nelson, who has been aggressively lobbied for months by gay rights groups, is announcing that he'll support the repeal compromise. From Nelson's statement: "I don't...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Senate Dems  
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Is there a Sarah Palin vileness/absurdity threshold?

A question for fellow reporters and editors: At what point do Sarah Palin's attacks and smears become so vile and absurd that they no longer merit attention? Is there such a point? Palin, who has broken the mold in so...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (240)
Categories:  Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* How Senate Dems will try to get Big Oil liability cap lifted: Here's something to watch today. Senate Dems plan to have another run at getting the disaster liability cap on oil companies lifted, increasing pressure on Republicans not...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
Categories:  Climate change , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* White House spox Bill Burton emails a description of what the President told Bob Corker during that private exchange today: The exchange he had with the President was actually pretty civil. They disagreed about the amount of bipartisan effort...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Happy Hour Roundup , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Bob Corker: I hit a "nerve" with the president

As you may have heard, President Obama met with some GOP Senators today and got into an exchange that has been described in several accounts as "testy." I just spoke briefly to Senator Bob Corker, and he shed a bit...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Senate Republicans  
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The decisive action Obama can take

As I noted this morning, there's been a palpable shift in the tone of media coverage of Obama's handling of the Gulf spill, with newly-aggressive news orgs raising more questions about whether the admistration has ceded too much control to...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
Categories:  Climate change  
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Labor ad blasts Blanche Lincoln all over the place

A brutal new ad targeting Blanche Lincoln. It can't be overstated how huge a victory knocking off Lincoln would be for organized labor, and now one of the major unions is up with its first spot of the runoff, a...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems  
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Murphy: We have votes to repeal DADT

History in the making? It's looking good. Dem Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, who has been leading the charge to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, said in an interview just now that it's a foregone conclusion: Dems have the votes...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  House Dems , Senate Dems  
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The Morning Plum

* It's never easy to pinpoint exactly when such moments occur, but it's clear there's been a palpable shift in the tone of the media coverage of Obama's handling of the Gulf spill, with big news orgs slowly shifting their...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 8:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Obama reiterates his sense of urgency about the Gulf spill in a phone call with the governors of Gulf Coast states. * And the White House, as part of continuing efforts to demonstrate Obama is on top of the...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 6:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Don't ask Lowden about chickens OR civil rights!

It isn't every day that chickens-for-checkups intersects with the Rand Paul tale. But that's exactly what happened when Politico interviewed the architect of chickens-for-checkups and committed the misstep of asking Sue Lowden whether she agrees with Paul's views about the...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  2010 elections , Health reform , Political media , Senate Republicans  
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Labor drafting lefty challenger to conservative House Democrat

Potentially setting up another high-profile clash between the left and the Dem establishment, one of the most powerful unions in the country is privately enlisting a candidate to challenge conservative Dem Rep. Larry Kissell of North Carolina, who infuriated labor...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems  
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Rand Paul implosion vindicates Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell has taken a ton of abuse for backing the candidate who lost the Kentucky GOP Senate primary to Rand Paul, with many observers wondering whether he'd lost his golden political touch. But it's worth noting that Paul's...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Republicans  
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Will Lincoln debate Halter before runoff?

In a quick interview with me on Friday, Arkasas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter called on Blanche Lincoln to hold at least one head-to-head debate before their runoff on June 8th. I can't get the Lincoln campaign to tell me whether...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems  
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Rand Paul: Deport terrorists to Afghanistan

Forget the Civil Rights Act. What about Rand Paul's views on foreign policy? Just as his criticism of parts of the Civil Rights Act had been out there for weeks before exploding onto the national media scene, Paul has expressed...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Senate Republicans  
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The Morning Plum

* Remarkable. On Meet the Press, NRSC chair John Cornyn refused to say whether it's appropriate that Rand Paul believes the Federal government shouldn't have the power to ban discrimination: DAVID GREGORY: His view is that private businesses should not...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 24, 2010; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Sunday Roundup

* Steele says it's time to move on: Michael Steele tells ABC's This Week that isn't "comfortable" with Rand Paul's criticism of parts of the Civil Rights Act, but says Paul has now "clarified" and "reiterated his support" for "pushing...

By Greg Sargent  |  May 23, 2010; 10:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
Categories:  2010 elections , House GOPers , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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